Experienced pitching and potentially bad weather are what the USF baseball team will have to face this weekend as the Bulls travel to take on Conference USA opponent Louisville.
A grim forecast in Louisville, Ky., has the Bulls (17-8) uncertain whether they will play. Not getting a chance to play would create problems for USF, especially since the Bulls have had two C-USA games canceled so far this season.
“I just hope we get to play the games because you’ve got rain in the forecast and snow flurries on Sunday,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said.
The C-USA champion is determined by winning percentage, and if games continue to be canceled for the Bulls, losing within the conference will have a much larger impact on their season if the games are not made up.
Even if the Bulls do get to play, they still have to face a conference opponent with a veteran pitching staff.
Returning pitchers for the Cardinals (13-8) include sophomore Zach Jackson, who had a record of 10-3 with a 4.77 ERA last year, and senior Scott Barber, who Cardieri referred to as a “bulldog.”
“They are going to run good starting pitching out there against us, and they are going to run a lineup that’s been out there, been there, done that,” Cardieri said.
The veteran pitching might cause a problem for the Bulls’ hitting, which has not been very effective since the Miami series March 11 and 12.
Before that series, the Bulls were getting an average of almost 14 hits a game. Since Miami, they have only been averaging 9 1/2.
However, Tuesday’s game against Bethune-Cookman saw progress in the hitting. The team returned to its early season form, pounding out 14 hits and nine runs.
“I am always confident in (the hitting), but they haven’t been going good since Miami,” Cardieri said. “Tuesday was definitely better, and it was against a very good pitcher, so hopefully that will give us some confidence to start swinging like we were.”
Starting pitchers for the Bulls this weekend will be David Austen on Friday, Jon Uhl on Saturday and Travis Rios on Sunday.
The action starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Cardinal Stadium.